Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 616 · 4 months ago

The Book of Judges #12

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Judges 7:19-8:3

As we come to God's word, let us ask for his illumination upon it tonight. And now, our God, as we have just saying of your word and saying about Your Commandments. And Lord, we we thank you for it, and we come again tonight to your word, to two more and Lord, we thank you, God for this Never Failing Fountain that continues to Minister Life to us, Lord, and we thank you how sweet it is, as us, almost as said, Lord, sweet as the honey. And God, indeed, your word is good to us, and we thank you, Lord, that we can even have more understanding than those older than us, because we have your commandment and your word. And so tonight, Lord, as we come to another part of your word, I pray, God, that you would speak to your people through it, and I pray that you would again use the words I say to help minister to them and the condition they find themselves in tonight, Lord, and we pray that your word would do its work, as it always does, because it never returns void. And so we pray and ask it tonight in Christ name, Amen, a little shorter passage tonight, as we come to the book of judges, Chapter Seven, we're reading from verse nineteen to the end of the chapter and then the first three verses of Chapter Eight, reminding you again this is God's word. So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the Middle Watch, when they just set the watch, and they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. Then the three companies move the trumpets and broke the jars they held in their left hands and torches in the right hands of trumpets to blow and they cried out a sword for the Lord and for Gideon. Every man stood in his place around the camp and all the army ran, they cried out and fled when they blew the three trumpets, the Lord said, every man so it against his comrade and against all the enemy, and...

...the army fled as far as best Shita, towards Zerea, as far as the border of Abomehola by Tabas, and the men of his Ra were called out from that Cli and from Asher and from all Manassa and they pursued. After media, Gideon sent messengers throughout all the he'll country of Ephraim saying come down against the Median Knights and captured the waters against them as far as Beth Barra and also the Jordan's. So all the men of Erem were called out and they captured the waters as Beth Barra and also the Jordan's, and they captured the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeb. They killed Orb at the rock of ORB and Zeb, they killed at the wine press of Zeb, and they pursued Midian and they brought the heads of Orbanzi to Gideon, across the Jordan's. Then the men of Ephraim said to him, what is this that you have done to us? Not to call us when you went to fight with Midian, and they accused him fiercely, and he said to them, what have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the Grapes of Efrom better than the grape harvest of abaser? God has given in your hands the princes of Midian, ORB and ze? What have I been able to do in comparison with you? Then their anger against him subsided when he said this. Thus sins the reading of God's words, and you may be seated. Well, I left you hanging last week. You were wondering, I'm sure, up until this moment. Oh, who's gonna win that battle? I gotta go tonight just to find out who it is, and we're gonna find out tonight. So in Verse Nineteen and twenty, were finally arriving at the actual battle, at least what little battle there's going to be, and we're told that this battle begins at the Middle Watch. Now, in the New Testament we know that the Romans divided their evening into four watches, because remember the Lord tubs walking on the sea at the Fourth Watch of the night. And of course, so they're when the four watches there could be no middle watch. But here the watches were the divided...

...into three watches, and so they begin, apparently at the beginning of the Middle Watch of the evening. Is when they're going to start their battle and their actions. And of course this would mean that there's a time when somebody's coming to be on watch, somebody's leaving watch to go back and somebody else is sleeping because it's not their turn to either have been or to be on watch, and so there might be some strategy involved in doing that. And what takes place here isn't completely clear, but apparently in some fashion the three men of getting into army blew their trumpets and break their lamps, and so we have a loud sound of trumpets and we have the flashing of lights, which of course could be alarming, even with just three hundred men that could be doing that. And also this, of course, could negate the camels. Remember I said that the camel's Gideons all the camels and median I's had and that would be a huge advantage. Well, this would negate that advantage because of the confusion and they shout out what they're told to shout out a little bit different. There's shout out exactly a sword for the Lord and for Gideon. There's been a lot of battle cries in history and different battles, haven't there? One of the most famous was Admiral Nelson at the battle of Der Falgar from his ship when he sent the signals that he said England expects that every man will do his duty, and it rallied the English to the cause and of course they had victory at that battle and this one also for the sword. A sword for the Lord, for Gideon Unites The army together and empowers them and then it says they stood their place, and the result is that the media nights all began to flee. And in Verse Twenty Two, a very strange thing happens that you do not expect to happen in the battle. The Lord causes the men of the media nites and the Amalekites to actually begin to fight against each other as they were leaving, and that that...

...it's a pretty good advantage in that battle. So they are fleeing and as they're fleeing they're killing each other. So that that's what's going on. So this is a pretty uh, very victorious thing that is happening here. And in Verse Twenty Three, it appears that now all of these men who have been called out, remember that were started out with a two thousand and we got rid of them and got rid of them, and now we're down to these three hundred. Well, now Gideon's calling them all back out and telling them it's time again to join in the service, and so it's time for reinforcements. Gideon hasn't thrown all military strategy out the window, even though it might appear so, and what he's doing here, but nonetheless he is doing the right thing. The time has come for report reinforcements to enter the battle, and so they do. And in Verse Twenty Four, another piece of strategy which is important has happened before. This is also a repeat strategy, where it is important for the armies to conquer and and and be holding at the waters to stop the enemy from going to the water, because of course that's very necessary in battle. And again, I had did the same strategy back in chapter three of judges. So he said, follow after me, for the Lord has given your enemies, the Moabites, in your hand. So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan against the MOABITES and did not allow anyone to pass over. So Gideon's army does that same thing. Follow us the same strategy, and they too are successful. And in Verse Twenty Five They capture a couple of the princes of MIDIAN, a couple of men. I don't know about you, when I read these names, I just think these guys got to be from like a science fiction movie, right, uh, you know, Arab and Z. I mean it sounds like two guys that are coming down to our planet to take it over something. But but anyway, they killed both of them at their own properties. But there is something interesting to note here that you don't just get from the text. You have to look at it. Arab is killed at the rock of Arab and Zeb is killed at the wine press of Zeb.

Now why is that interesting? Well, you have to go back a little bit to the beginning of chapter six when the Lord Calls Gideon. And where does the angel of the Lord First Appear to Gideon? At the wine press, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to hide it from the media nights. And where did the angel of the Lord Command Gideon to place his offering on the rock? And just just six twenty said take the meat and the unliving cake and put them on this rock and pour the broth over them, and he did. So it's interesting Gideon's life is kind of coming back full circle and and those are kind of just interesting details we don't over notice when we read through attacks, but it's interesting to see how that repeats again. So we're gonna move to chapter eight and versus one through three, and here we're gonna see Gideon doing a wonderful act of diplomacy. Is a little problem, but it has the ability to erupt into a really large issue. As Matthew Henry puts it, an unhappy spark was struck which, if Gideon had not, with a great deal of wisdom and grace, extinguished immediately, might have broken out into a flame of fatal consequence. In verse one, the men of EF him are very upset with Gideon, and the reason seems to be that Gideon didn't call them out at the beginning to join in the battle, at the beginning of it. Now, if we look back to Gideon's call in chapter six to the tribes, it is clear he did not include Effel, he says, and he sent messengers through Manassa and they too were called out to follow him. And he sent messengers to Asher Zebulon NAFTALA and they went up to meet them. But Efraim isn't mentioned. Now why? Well, we don't know. The Bible never tells us. We can make some guesses, we don't know if any of them...

...are right. Some commentators think it was simply an oversight on Gideon's part. He just forgot to call them. Others thinks that he was deliberately snubbing the affirmights. Now again you have to remember something. He'll come back to the affirmtes and tribe of Manassa. Remember, those were the two children of Joseph that Jacob remembered did that little trick where he crossed his arms when he was blessing them, and so there's always been this kind of jealousy between these two tried. So that's playing into this as well. And so others think that perhaps all he was doing was holding the affirmtes back for when they were going to be needed his reinforcements in the battle, and perhaps that's what he did. I don't know, but I do favor that last one actually myself, but I can't prove it. But anyway, it seems that this late call of efforts to the battle has made them a little ticked. A little. Let's set with Gideon for what he's done. They don't just accuse him. The tech says they had use him fiercely. So they're upset. Robert Hawker and his poor man's commentary says what cause so good or what conducts so unexceptionable? But we'll meet with envy and the bailful effects of our corrupt passions. Shouldn't they have been joyful thankful. They just want a great battle is seven years. Oppression is over. The Media Knights and the AMALEKITES are done. They're conquered. This is good times. These are exciting times. But there's always people that kind of always can see the bad side, no matter how good something seems to be, and it can be hard for us to handle the success of others if we didn't have a part of it. Sometimes, I don't know, this would never happen to your pastor, but for me I can get jealous when the church across town is double the size of what the church I'm pastoring is, and then I kind of get a little jealous and all of that. But that's me, because that's a sign that I'm prone to. But but again, UM, why? Why did they do...

...this? And something suspicious? There's a couple of things suspicious in their behavior, all right, and so I don't know, but at least it makes us wonder. Here, and and this is Um number one, is why they wait till after the battle, right, you know, why didn't they say when getting caused rest, Hey, what about us? We want to fight? To Um, we don't. We don't see them doing that. They wait until the fighting is all over and then they go, Oh, you should have called us. I don't know, I'm a little UH. I'm not sure I'm going to forgive them on this, but the sermon Bible says the effort. Mights may have been either high spirit and vexed that they had not been invited to help and overflow overthrowing the media nights, or they may have only wished that they had a share in the glory and tried to make it appear they would gladly have joined Gideon. Now the reason I say I'm suspicious, and I told you the first reason. There's another reason too, because they pull this same thing later. They do it again later in judges you might remember Jeff the and in judges twelve we read the men of Efraim were called to arms and they crossed to Zephon and said to jeff the, why did you cross over to fight against the AMMONITES and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house with fire, a little worse than Gideon had to do and do. And Jeffa said to them I and my people had a great dispute with the ammonites and when I called you, you did not save me from their hand, and when I saw that you would not save me, I took my life in my hand and crossed over against the ammonite, and the Lord gave them into my hand. Why, then, have you come up to me this day to fight against me? Then Jeff gathered all the men of Gilead and fought with Efraim, and the men of Gilead struck Efraim because they said you are fugitives of Efron, you Gileadites, Gilead. Well, never mind, in the midst of Efraim, in Manassa, so you said, they pulled us again. So I'm I'm kind of a little suspicious when someone does it again again. But...

Gideon handles this with superb diplomacy. He says, what have I done in comparison with you? Isn't the gleaning of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer? In other words, why are you complaining? Isn't what you were able to do by killing the princess, and perhaps even much more that you did? I don't know what they did all in the end, because the text doesn't tell us, but you did much more than I did. The word grapes that is found in the King James and the S V is not there in the original, but it easily can be implied. But the point is that Gideon says you came in late, but you got more glory than anybody even by coming in La you should have nothing to really complain about. And and it brought to mind as I as I was reading this, what happened earlier, and I know I didn't preach judges as early here in this church, but it reminded me of when barracks said to Deborah. He said, Um, I'll go up to battle if you go with me, and Debora said art to go with you, but I would tell you now you're not going to get the glory for this battle. Somebody else is going to get the glory. And it was a one that got the glory. Remember jail, who called sister of the great general uh into her tent and drove the tent peg into his head. And so jail got the glory that Deborah prophesied instead of barrick getting the glory. And it appears that Ephraim not only killed the two princes, by the way, but it seems like they had a great slaughter of the Media Knights and now I said, well, I don't see that in the text. Nor do I. But Isaiah, Chapter Ten, verse Twenty Six says and the Lord of hosts will wheeled against them a whip has when he struck Midian at the rock of Areb, and his staff will be over the sea and he will lift it as he did in Egypt. So that seems to indicate that God is saying there was a eight...

...battle that happened there. And again remember that jealousy, that that is always there. Even though EFROM was the firstborn, they're always concerning that they get that rightful glory that was theirs as as they received that blessing, and so there's always that tension. Isaiah refers to it. Chap manason devours EFROM and EFROM devours MANASA, together there against Judah. For All this, his anger is not turned away and his hand is not stretched out. Still, proverb eight nine reminds us a brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle, and I'm going to come back to that in the application. So really in humility, getting in and saying hey, look, you got a better glory. You got the blessing of the firstborn, you took the princess. You you had a great slaughter. We I went in and had a little bit, but you're getting the glory of the battle and and so you should be grateful. And so they from mites actually are calmed by this, and actually they're anger subsides because of what Gideon says in verse three. He says you're the ones, and he said what have I been able to do in comparison with you? This takes a lot of humility on Gideon's part. He's the one to whom the angel had appeared, and I would have I would have I would have done that much differently. I just said Hey, what are you complaining? Do you know who I am? I'm Gideon. I don't know when the angel called the mighty man of Valor. I'm the one that that God spoke to. I'm the one that did the strategy here. I'm the one that they got the army down to three hundred. You shouldn't be saying anything against me, but Gideon was much more humble than I am and he remembered Paul's instructions, even though he hadn't read them yet, but he remembered Philippians two three. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility a count others more significant than yourselves. And he also brings God's providence when he says God has...

...given into your hand. In other words, don't fight against the Providence of God, don't go against God has delivered them to you. And by complaining you're actually complaining against God, which really is the case with almost any complaining that we do right, it's almost always complaining against God. Well, I don't want to give some applications this evening. The reformers, especially during the time of Luther and others that were following him. They looked at this battle of Gideon versus the media, Knights and Amalekites, has the type of the proclamation of the Gospel. In the view of some, the trumpets representative proclaiming of the Gospel, the pictures represented the weak vessels that are called to do this, and the way Gideon attacked spoke of the foolishness of the gospel. That's how Martin Borhaus, who is a compatriot of Lutheran's wingly I, saw it, and Luther himself saw it very, very similarly, and there are certainly scriptures in the new estimate that could lead us to such an understanding. And First Corinthians four, Paul makes the comparison to the trumpet sounding the noise of of the clear proclamation of the Gospel and showing the superiority of the proclamation of the Gospel over speaking in tongues. And Second Corinthians four seven, Paul Speaks of the Gospel Messengers. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, and so the pictures of clay that Gideon's army had and boorhouse actually saw a correlation between the lamps that were left after the pictures are broken and the tongues of fire that lighted on the apostles at Pentecost. Martin Luther also saw the trumpets as referring to the preachers of the Gospel. But in the broken jars luther saw particularly the martyrs, and he said the bodies of the martyrs and saints, broken by various sufferings of the cross, educated the world by their example of love and truth and put the flight the godless along with their godlessness. So with the thoughts of the Ref Farmers and the theology of the...

...reformers in mind that I have just given you, let me make a few applications concerning the proclaiming of the Gospel to the world. One thing I'd have you notice is that every member of gineon's army blew the trumpets they all put and I say that because, and this is something I guess I'll say, I believe and I don't want to go against others that might believe differently, but I have heard of those in the reform camp and I've run into them who say that no lay people should ever proclaim the Gospel, that they should never be sharing the gospel because they're not ordained and they shouldn't be doing that. I don't agree with that personally. I don't think that's right. I believe and Act Fort says those who were scattered went about preaching the word. I think all Christians went about at that time scattered through the persecution, and we're preaching the word and as a result of that the church was greatly increased and every soldier broke his picture. So the lamp was shown. Every Christian is to let their light shine before the world. We as believers, we know our Lord said we are the light of the world. He is the light, but so are we, as he calls us, and perhaps our Lord was making an illusion in our Texas evening to the sermon and amount he said, you are the light of the world. A city, said on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand and it gives light to all the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven. I'm guessing. I don't know, it could be wrong here, but I'm guessing a lot of the kids that are here probably know that little song, this little light of mine, and hide it under a Bushel. No, I'm gonna let it shine. And I don't know, I think kids do sing that song. Maybe I'm wrong, but but if you're singing a kids you know what I'm talking about. But again, we're all gospel light bearers doing that. And they cried out the sword of the Lord, because every believer has the sort of the Lord. We are all equipped with...

...the word. The church for years trying to stop the lay people from reading the Bible and tell them that that they weren't smart enough to understand the Bible and they hid the Bible from them. But then came the glorious unfolding of the Gospel and the word of God, and all of a sudden every Christian has has the word of God in their home and and we can use that in our proclamation. I want to make a side note about this. That luther, when Luther wrote about the arguments for free will in his book the bondage of the will, he makes reference as battle, and this is really kind of a side note, is not? So how does this relate? What? Probably doesn't, but just humor me for a moment. He says reason is so captivated by her inferences and the words of her own wisdom that she does not know what she is saying or what she's talking about, though it is most fitting that free choice should be defended by such arguments. Has Mutually Devour and make an an to each other, just as the media nights destroyed themselves by mutual slaughter when they fought against Gideon and the people of God. At least found that an interesting illusion to the gospel of free choice that Luther says it ends up devouring itself with all the arguments that they use. But let me also make up perhaps a better and more applicable application from the story concerning how we share the Gospel. When is the church we want to preach the Gospel, should we have a definite, planned, reasonable strategy, or should we just try to do the ridiculous, as it seems like God instructs Gideon To do here? Now, no one can argue that when we do something ridiculous that turns out really good, that it's easy for God to get the glory. That's true, but the Lord does remind us, as he sends the disciples out to be wisest serpents and harmless as doves. There are times, yeah, when a ridiculous to our surprise, actually works.

I was out in the streets night and handing out tracks and talking to people and it came upon a guy and I was going to hand him a track and he said, I'm an old drunk, it's too late for anything for me. Just go give you a track to someone else. Now, normally I would have said no, no, it's not too late. Today is the day of salvation, this is a good day, this is your day of opportunity. It's never too late. As long as you have life, it's it's not too late. That's why I normally would have said but for whatever ridiculous reason I looked at him and said, you know, I think you're right. It's way too late for you and turned around to walk away and as I did he goes, Hey, hey, wait a minute and he said call me back. He said, what do you mean? It's too late for me, and we ended up talking that night for two hours and being able to share to him. Now I I would never really do that. I did another time I was working at GE when I was starting getting a trend to the church plant going. I was working for them and as time went on, I never, I'd ever tried to be foolish about sharing the Gospel and things like that. A lady uh who husbands sold O cult books and definitely did did not have Um, the same kind of ideas as me, and she said she she called me into the office one day and she said, you know what she said. I want to tell you I respect you. And she said, I don't respect a lot of Christians, but she said I do. I respect you, and I understood what she didn't respect a lot of Christians because I was managing some of them and I could get what she wouldn't. Uh. But she said, would you tell me what you believe? And I did something I've never done when somebody else to share the gospel. I started giving her like two that's not my normal way of sharing the gospel with somebody, but I started doing it and I said this is gonna sound crazy to you and I'm gonna say but I don't believe God has chosen. I started toning to these things and I get done, I look at her she goes, you know what, that makes...

...a lot of sense now. She didn't. I wish I could tell she came to the Lord, but she didn't. But sometimes we just do something that's kind of strange. But sometimes that doesn't work. When we were starting the church in Claire Wisconsin, I um came up with this brilliant idea of putting brilliant and quotes there. Um I said we're gonna send out a letter. I got a mailing list from world magazine and they sold their mailing lists and so we got got their mailing list and we sent out a letter to everybody on that mailing list. And this is what we did. We said in the letter if you're looking for a church, and then we had bullet points. If you're looking for a church that has a dynamic children's ministry, Nope, sorry, we like to have our families worshiped together. Or if you are looking for a church with a dynamic praise band, no, sorry, we like seeing the old hymns of the church. Anyway, I went on point by point and all of the things that the other church has said and then I'd say that I thought this is going to be great and we set it out. You know, never got one person that ever responded that letter, except for one guy and he was ticked and uh, he called me up and he said where did you get my address, and I said, well, we got it from World magazine. He said, I didn't know they sold that. I'm calling them and canceling my subscription right now and don't you ever contact me again. So that was my brilliant response. That turned out to be not very good at all. So so I again I think the normal course of evangelism for a church just to have a good strategy. I think the fellowship groups, as churches doing their great opportunity for people to invite neighbors and people to invite friends and and to have them come. I think that's wonderful. I think that's a great way of getting the Gospel out as well. And so so we do that and and we thank God for again, normally the wise way, but once in a while, who knows us? Um, and if you ever do something ridiculous, hopefully it...

...works out for you. But Um, two more quick applications. Whatever we think about emulating Gideon Strategy in the battle, we can certainly emulate Gideon's behavior in his humility. In Chapter Eight. It is by not giving into his pride the Gideon wins the day. Like I said, I would have said a lot of stuff. I would have said, you know, I'm Gideon, I'm the man of Bellor I'm Dad, Blah Blah. Gideon didn't say any of that. He humbled himself and because of that the effor Mites were soothed. I've almost had fifty years of pastoral ministry, at least full time ministry, in my life and I have observed in that time many conflicts that have happened in families and churches. That all it would have taken was for one person in the conflict to humble themselves and say I'm sorry, I was I did wrong here. Forgive me, please forgive me. But I have seen those conflicts lead to church splits, splits and families. I have seen families split because of that because people do not are not willing to take wrong. Remember Paul said to the Corinthians, why are you doing these lawsuits? Why don't you just take wrong yourself? That's hard to do. I know it's very difficult. ECCLESIAST these four forces. A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city. So I mentioned earlier proverbs third team ten. By insolence comes nothing but strife. But those who take advice is wisdom. Sometimes I just think we need to take the high road and say I'm sorry, forgive me, and whether or not the other person says Oh, I've expected that maybe up to have you ever done that? Summer and you go and...

...you ask him me say I'm so sorry, which Les Forgive Me, and you think in your mind you played it all out and they're gonna say uh, yeah, I'm really sorry too. But then it never happens that way. None. But still it's better. It's better that way. And finally, let me just say whatever we see of this battle, the reformers also sought as a picture of Christ, the pictures being broken. They saw as Christ broken upon the Cross and the light that came forth with the light of the Glorious resurrection. That's what the Gospel is. It's a glorious resurrection of Christ. The Gospel is the resurrection. They are synonymous terms. I found that years ago as I was going through acts. This beginning in verse Cho beginning from the Baptism and John on to the same day he was taken up from us. Must one be or day to be a witness with us of his resurrection. Act Four two. Being grieved, he taught the people and preached through Jesus the Resurrection from the dead. X Four three, and with great power gave the apostles witness of the direction of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and Great Grace was upon them all. At seventeen eighteen and certain philosophers of the epicureans and of the stoics encountered him and some said, what would this babblers say? Are there's some. He seems to be a center forth of strange gods, because he preached, unto them, Jesus and the resurrection. That's our message. That's a message that we have. We have, we have there's been one person in the history of the world who has been resurrected from the dead, one person. That's our message. We have it. He is ours, he is our God, he is the one that has been resurrected. Nobody else has that, no other religion has that. We're the only ones that have it. And the Gospel is simple, as Paul tells, the prints and first printinents fifteen is very simple. We preach Christ for our sins, according to the scripture, was buried on the...

...third day. He rose again. That's it. It's that simple and that's what we have. And if you can believe in that and trust in that, that's where salvation is. It lies right in those things. Turned to the one who died for your sins and your life will be changed forever. Let's pray, Lord, we thank you for your word and we thank you God for types and shadows and Lord, I pray that tonight you would take some of these things, which are perhaps strange applications in some ways, but Lord, use them to speak to your hearts, of your people. I pray, and I asked God that none of us would be offended by the foolishness of the Gospel, but Lord, that we would trust it and not be afraid to share it with others, that our Lord Jesus Christ has risen from the day and he is triumphant over everything. And help us to know, God, what you can do with foolishness. But we asked this in Christ name. Amen. MM HM.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (646)